Day 3 and fortunate destiny

Ventas de Naron Travel Blog

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Guillermo's store and workshop "Peter Pank"

Of course, it's late when I wake up. I mean, it was 2 a.m. when I got to bed last night, and I WAS at a witch hunt. Must be Thursday, again ;) . Ah, life ain't easy. 

Outside it must have been raining for it's cloudy and the air is fresh. I meet Jose-Luis at the bar and we have breakfast. Though his feet are hurt with blisters, he wants to make it all the way to Palas de Rei today, that's about 30 km. I don't want to walk that far, I guess 20 km is my limit, and I settle for Ventas de Naron, where Jose has recommended an albergue. He also wants to call me a taxi to take my backpack, it's a common thing on the Camino and a good business for taxi-drivers. But Jose has to run an errand, and after saying goodbye leaves me with Kristina who speaks perfect German.

"Peter Pank" art
She calls a taxi service and informs me that they want 15 €. We are both astonished, for the regular price usually is 3 €. Kristina suggests to go to Portomarin, which is a bigger town and look from there. I can do that, 5 km ain't so bad. Jose-Luis has already taken off, and now I burden my weight on my shoulders and head out to Portomarin. On my way I stop at Guillermo's workshop "Peter Pank" and admire his work. I'm so glad I met him, such extraordinary characters always light up my day. 

Portomarin lays by a river, and there's a steep climb to the city center. I find a shop with a Taxi sign outside and go to ask for a backpack transport. The lady wants 12 €, and on my asking explains that usually it's 3 € when there's a group pick-up of backpacks at 9 a.

"Peter Pank" souvenirs
m. at the albergues, but everything later costs more money. But this exceeds my budget and I leave. Then I remember an old red Passat with signs saying Transporte de Mochilas all over it, had passed me by when I entered the old town. I decide to follow the road where it had taken a turn, going entirely on intuition. And what d'ya say, there it was, parked in front of an albergue, trunk open with backpacks in it! This is when I met Sergio and Ana, which turned out as fortunate as things can get. They agreed to take my backpack for 3 €, and even called the albergue I was to stay at tonight to make sure I'll get a bed. They spoke only Spanish, but we managed to communicate just fine.

I continued my walk freed from the weight on my shoulders, and it is SUCH a relieve! What a difference! Especially felt on that steep climb through the woods just outside of Portomarin.

Galician stone walls
I walked alone, and suddenly really felt alone, and I am not sure if that had anything to do with the absence of my backpack, which would be absurd, but would make sense, wouldn't it?, since we humans do tend to get attached to things, and however you put it, I don't like it.

After a couple of kilometres, I run into Jose-Luis, who is sitting by the road tending to his feet. We continue walking together, and suddenly I don't feel so alone anymore, and it most probably doesn't have to do anything with my backpack, which is kinda relieving, since I don't like to be attached to things. After a while I see that he is faster than me, and we split. Free Bird again, and I start to enjoy it. The countryside is beautiful, and the sun is getting warmer, it's a perfect Camino-day! 

In Gonzar I stop for lunch, and when getting on the road again, I again run into Jose-Luis.

Galician countryside
I guess, today is destined for us to walk together. Again I look at my watch, it takes me about 2 hours to make 8 km, and that sounds good to me. I also realize that the routes described in my guide seem much shorter than they actually are. Everytime I think I'm in a certain place, it turns out it's still way ahead of me. It's also kinda difficult to keep track of places, since the villages don't have town-signs and you never know where you're actually at. Still, it should be impossible to loose your way (though I met some pilgrims who did), since the Camino is very well marked with yellow scallops and arrows. Even for me it's no problem to stay on the right path ;) . Right now it's about 7 km to Ventas de Naron, and Jose-Luis and me fall into an attuned pace.
If I got it correctly, it's a corn storage. Every house has one.
We talk about why we're on the Camino, why take all the hardship instead of just spending your vacation lazying away on a beach, which is a good question. The answer, I guess, is not blowing in the wind, but can be found in the hearts of every individual pilgrim.

I also tell Jose-Luis about Sergio and his service, and how relieving it is to walk without the backpack. Jose-Luis decides to give it a try, since his feet are killing him. He gives Sergio a call, and they make an appointment in the next village we'll be at. It's Hospital de Cruz, and we make a stop to wait for Sergio. Here two Spanish women join us, Fernanda and Mireia, and we all take a rest by the road. Sergio and Ana arrive, and a lively conversation starts among the Spaniards. Here's another observation I've made during my trip: a cliche has been confirmed.

Entrance of Portomarin
All the southerners I've met are loud, talkative and fun. All the northerners I've met are restrained, serious and a little less fun. I don't know why that is so, but fact is that the most fun I had with the Spaniards, while the most serious conversations I had with the Germans. Aren't we a colourful race?

Sergio takes Jose-Luis' backpack, and we continue walking. He still wants to make it to Palas de Rei, which is where Fernanda and Mireia are going, too. But as we arrive in Ventas de Naron, the sky turns black and we hear thunder. Galicia is the most rainy region of Europe, and when the rain comes down it usually comes as a quick and heavy storm. I find my albergue O'Cruceiro, and in a heartbeat Jose-Luis decides to stay here as well. The women continue to Palas de Rei, now wrapped up in rain capes, and we say goodbye.

Resting in Hospital de Cruz, Mireia, Fernanda, me and Jose-Luis
Just as Jose-Luis and me have stepped inside the bar, heavy hail comes battering down. It makes a loud noise, and I keep thinking how lucky we were to reach the albergue before it hit us somewhere in the open field. Hope Fernanda and Mirea made it to a shelter. 

As quick as it had begun, as quick it stopped. The landlady showed us to our albergue. It's a seperate house with a room with 6 or 7 bunk beds in it, and just 1 bathroom. Noone else is here, and I keep wondering where all the Holy-Year-pilgrims are. But later another two men join us, they are bikers from Basque. The one with the incredibly beautiful blue eyes (hey, I'm a girl, bare with me :)) introduces himself as Gaizka, and after a heartbeat of processing this information, I apologize to him for I most probably will not be able to memorize his name.

Sergio and Ana's "Transporte de Mochilas"
Gaizka? Really? He takes it with humour, and explains that it is an old, traditional Basque name, and the Spanish equivalent would be Salvador. Okay, I can memorize that. By the way, ladies, yet another observation, and since I've seen this on all the Spanish men I've met so far, this might be a genetic thing (?): they all have sooo long eyelashes, that it makes a girl jealous! Beautiful! 

Later, another Basque biker joins us, Eduardo, arriving wet and tired. Bad fortune for him today: he drove into a river and broke his finger. The photo of this mishap is passed around and it is NOT a nice sight. Yet another not-nice sight is Jose-Luis taking care of his blisters. It looks like surgery, and I am not able to provide any details about this mishap.

At the O'Cruceiro albergue with Gaizka, Tomas and Jose-Luis, having Cider
Poor guy. Life truly ain't easy. 

Later, in the bar we gather for a drink before dinner. Spaniards seem to drink a lot, as Jose said, at this hour it's tradition ;) Here I try another speciality: Cider. A sparkling, light drink made of apples. The taste reminds me of Radler, a mixture of beer and Sprite. It's good. On the counter there's the newspaper, and I take a look at the weather map, the only thing that's of any interest to me on this trip. Jose-Luis takes it and offers to read it to me. "No, thanks." I reply. "Unless it's the apocalypse, there's nothing I wanna know about what's going on out there." Taking the papers, Jose-Luis' green eyes (behind those long eyelashes :)) sparkle, and he says just one word: "Football." Oh, of course, naturally.

Galician village
Men. :)

At dinner, the landlady won't let us starve, putting a big bowl of Caldo Galego in the middle of the table. Then we have fish with fries and eggs, and of course dessert. Unfortunately, the bikers don't speak any English, except for Eduardo who tries really hard to put a sentence together. Fortunately, Jose-Luis serves as my interpreter again, and I'm eternally grateful to him for that. I notice that the more I listen to them speak, the more words I pick up. By the end of my trip I will be able to put simple, and most certainly grammatically incorrect, sentences together :) . The evening ends with - guess what - homemade brandies (!) Yesterday, as we were taking photos at Jose's bar, I remarked that every photo I had taken so far with other pilgrims, was us drinking.

Gallician village
That's when we put the shooters away, and made a photo with a basket full of bread, for Jose's official website - it's not just wine, it's also bread, and, yes, we ARE pilgrims :) . Tonight, I have yet another photo drinking with my fellow pilgrims. These people are killing me ;)  

I'm so tired, that I don't want to worry about spending the night in a room with four strange men ... something I'd most certainly do, if I were anywhere else but on the Camino de Santiago. 


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Guillermos store and workshop Pe…
Guillermo's store and workshop "P…
Peter Pank art
"Peter Pank" art
Peter Pank souvenirs
"Peter Pank" souvenirs
Galician stone walls
Galician stone walls
Galician countryside
Galician countryside
If I got it correctly, its a corn…
If I got it correctly, it's a cor…
Entrance of Portomarin
Entrance of Portomarin
Resting in Hospital de Cruz, Mirei…
Resting in Hospital de Cruz, Mire…
Sergio and Anas Transporte de Mo…
Sergio and Ana's "Transporte de M…
At the OCruceiro albergue with Ga…
At the O'Cruceiro albergue with G…
Galician village
Galician village
Gallician village
Gallician village
Guillermos tree against violance
Guillermo's "tree against violance"
Peter Pank art
"Peter Pank" art
Peter Pank art
"Peter Pank" art
Guillermos workshop
Guillermo's workshop
A new albergue will be here soon, …
A new albergue will be here soon,…
The locals offer fruit and drinks …
The locals offer fruit and drinks…
Galician pine tree and eukalyptus …
Galician pine tree and eukalyptus…
Galician pine tree
Galician pine tree
Galician pine trees
Galician pine trees
Galician stone wall
Galician stone wall
Flowers along the Camino
Flowers along the Camino
Hail, hail, rocknroll ...
Hail, hail, rock'n'roll ...
Jose-Luis after surgery
Jose-Luis after "surgery"
Ventas de Naron Hostels review
albergue O'Cruceiro
Located on the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela, about 14 km from Palas de Rei. Ventas de Naron is a small, typical Galician village with no a… read entire review
Ventas de Naron
photo by: vila